Perspectives: VA Needs A Good Soldier To Change Dysfunction, Not A Talker At A Podium
Opinion writers express views on President Donald Trump's selection of Dr. Ronny Jackson to head up the Department of Veteran Affairs.
The Washington Post:
I’ve Seen What A Mess Veterans Affairs Is. Ronny L. Jackson Can’t Fix It.
The mission of the Department of Veterans Affairs was laid down in the wake of the Civil War, in a promise by President Abraham Lincoln to care for the men who fought, as well as their widows and orphans. The scope of that promise has broadened as women have enlisted. It is the only department that focuses exclusively on caring for veterans and their families in times of crisis spawned by injury, illness and death, a mission most Americans would agree is vital, if not sacred. Yet every administration going back decades has failed to appoint a leader capable of guiding the agency to fulfill its mission. Ronny L. Jackson, President Trump’s pick to lead the department after Secretary David Shulkin was fired, will continue that legacy. And veterans will continue to pay for it. (Mikki Kendall, 4/2)
Can The Department Of Veterans Affairs Be Saved?
When he was ousted as veterans affairs secretary by President Donald Trump last week, David Shulkin joined the line of inept bunglers in the revolving door of secretaries sacked for failure to reform the system. If Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, the president’s personal physician, a man whose administrative credentials are currently under question, does win Senate confirmation, he will become the sixth head of the department since 2007, not counting four interim chiefs.We surely owe our veterans better than this. (Cory Franklin, 4/2)
Kansas City Star:
Status Quo In VA Culture Puts Bureaucracy Ahead Of Vets
It is clear little has changed in VA’s management since the systemic failures and fallout from 2014. The Veterans Choice Program is a solution to help the VA better manage health care for veterans by providing community care, reducing VA bureaucracy and making the department more manageable — but we cannot rely on Choice alone. We must look to VA leadership to change its entrenched “business as usual” mindset. (Sen. Jerry Moran, 4/2)
The Washington Post:
We Can Fix Veteran’s Health Care Without Privatizing It. Here’s How.
The Department of Veterans Affairs includes the largest health system in the United States and the second largest agency in the federal government. The system, which accounts for close to $200 billion in federal spending and has more than 350,000 employees, covers the health-care needs of 9 million veterans. The idea of doing away with the entire system and turning it over to the private sector is not only frightening, it’s morally reprehensible. And yet, if some high-level VA officials in the Trump administration get their way , that’s what would happen. (Nancy M. Schlichting, 4/2)